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School board appoints Dr. Ward as CMS Interim Principal

The Cook County Board of Education voted unanimously Monday night, Jan. 8, 2024, to appoint formerly retired, long-time educator Dr. Mary Sue Ward as Cook Middle School Interim Principal.

The Adel-Cook County Chamber of Commerce named Dr. Ward as 2008 Woman of the Year. During her 26 years in education, she served as a band director and Cook Middle School principal. Dr. Ward is also a proud member of many community organizations.

Her replacement appointment as CMS Interim Principal became effective back on Jan. 3, 2024.

During the Board of Education’s Jan. 8 work session, Cook County Schools personnel Director Dr. Courtney Holley presented Dr. Ward’s appointment among a list of other personnel recommendations.

During the Jan. 8 regular session, Board Member Jeff Taylor made a motion, seconded by Board Member Sharon Locklear, to approve the personnel recommendations. All voted in favor.

The personnel list approved included:

Transfers: Jim Carter, CMS Resident to CMS Teacher (Replacement effective Jan. 3, 2024); Joanne Warren, CMS Para to Cook High School Sped Teacher (Replacement effective Jan. 3, 2024); and Tya Brown, Cook Performance Learning Center Teacher to CMS Teacher (Replacement effective Jan. 3, 2024).

Athletics – Nathan Barnes, Assistant JV Baseball Coach.

Substitute teachers – Ronda Holbert and Patricia Merlos.

Resignations – Pat Newsome, CPS Sped Para (effective Jan. 3, 2024); and Laquana Thornton, CES Para (effective Jan. 19, 2024).

Also during the Jan. 8, 2024, regular session, Board Member Brenda Moore made a motion, seconded by Board Member Jeff Taylor, to sell a 0.37 acre “small sliver” of land near the Highway 37 / Highway 76 “Y” intersection east of Adel for $700 (fair market value) to the Georgia Department of Transportation. The DOT needs that property for the purpose of having a roundabout constructed at that intersection, said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Tim Dixon. The board voted unanimously to sell the land to the DOT.

“This is really on a fast track,” Dr. Dixon said during the work session on Monday. He said DOT officials have indicated that construction of the roundabout project will start in June or July.

Board Vice-Chairman Chad Sumner questioned whether the property would have to be declared surplus or if bid would have to be taken for its sale. Dr. Dixon said it’s his understanding that legal documentation will need to be signed to supersede that process of selling property by the school board, due to the public need for the roundabout project.

Other business during the Jan. 8 work session:

  • Dr. Dixon announced that a team of four to five school superintendents will visit Cook County Schools for a facility review on Jan. 17, 2024. They will provide school officials with recommendations to be used in development of the school system’s School Facilities Plan for the next five years.
  • Dr. Dixon announced that the Annual School Board Retreat will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Monday, Jan. 22, 2024, at the central office.
  • Assistant Superintendent Dr. Becky Ratts advised the board that federal ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) funds may be used to buy a new vehicle for help with the school transportation needs of homeless children and youth and their families. Approximately $46,000 in the funds is available. School officials plan to purchase a 2024 Ford Explorer from Cook County Ford.

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